In memoriam — Stuart Abercrombie

J Stuart Abercrombie 1937-2022

Stuart learnt to ring as a teenager in Manchester with Phil Banks, a school friend. They would often go walking and camping in the Peak District or Yorkshire Dales and if the opportunity arose to ring they would take it. Stuart had a break from ringing whilst at University but his enthusiasm was rekindled in 1963 when he and his wife Dorothy moved to a house next to the Church in Atherstone. He did not ring there regularly but never lost interest. Stuart and Dorothy moved to Sawston in 1972 and having taken up ringing again became Tower Captain in 1978, a role he would continue in until 2015 when ill health caused him to retire.

Stuart rang his first Quarter Peal in 1977, during the EDA QP week, to mark the Queen’s Silver Jubilee. His first inside was at Stapleford in May 1982. Stuart would go on to ring many more Quarter Peals including people’s first quarters and firsts in methods. Bands would also often contain many young ringers. Stuart’s first peal was at Pampisford in October 1983. Overall, he rang 50 peals which included Minor, Major and Royal.

During the 1980’s, Stuart’s friendly, social and welcoming atmosphere at Practice nights attracted young ringers from other towers including Pampisford, Shelford, Whittlesford as well as those from further afield. Many could be found doing their homework in the Vestry between touches. A successful tower lead to a Quarter Peal in 1983 which the footnote at the time says it was the first by an all-Sawston band, since it was reformed 2 years ago. Stuart organised the Bells For Hats striking competition in 1987. This competition recreated a ringing contest from 1774 and is remembered by many ringers who took part. The ringing was on 5 bells, with a choice of methods; Fortune, The Dream and St Dunstan’s. For Stuart’s 50th birthday in 1987, a Quarter Peal was rung in 50 Doubles methods and variations. The 1980’s also saw him serve as joint Cambridge District Ringing Master from 1986-1989.

In the late 1990’s, he taught yet more people to ring and was key to building a band to ring in the Millennium at Sawston. Those who knew him remember him for being an excellent bloke, having an appreciation of a sense of humour and for being very encouraging of learners. This was not just at Sawston but at other local towers too such as Thriplow and Little Shelford.

Even when Stuart was no longer able to ring himself, ringing still formed part of his life and a Quarter Peal was rung at Little Shelford in September 2021 to celebrate his and Dorothy’s 60th Wedding Anniversary. Stuart passed away on 4th March 2022 at home following several weeks in hospital. Our condolences go out to his wife Dorothy and family at this time.

Samantha Gorman (with thanks for the many contributions from other ringers who knew Stuart)

Stuart’s family would like to add the following:

Our whole family would very much like to express our thanks for all the cards and letters we have received and for the memories ringers have shared with us, and especially for the quarter peals all of which show the great regard the ringers held for Stuart. Dorothy and all of Stuart’s family

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Associated performances

Found 8 associated performances. Search

29 Apr 2022 Meldreth (Holy Trinity) 5040 Stedman Triples
31 Mar 2022 Barton (St Peter) 1260 Plain Bob Minor
18 Mar 2022 Garvestone (St Margaret) 1272 Plain Bob Minor
16 Mar 2022 Little Shelford (All Saints) 1300 Plain Bob Doubles
16 Mar 2022 Sawston (St Mary the Virgin) 1260 Plain Bob Triples
16 Mar 2022 Toft (St Andrew) 1320 Plain Bob Doubles
6 Mar 2022 Pampisford (St John the Baptist) 1260 Plain Bob Doubles
6 Mar 2022 Trumpington (St Mary and St Michael) 1280 Bristol Surprise Major